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    #1

    What does this sentence mean?

    Hey there

    I have started reading 'Our Man in Havana' amusing piece of litterature. One the first page there is a quote by George Herbert saying:

    'And the sad man is cock of all his jests.'

    I know what a jest is that is: a joke, a trick, something like that

    But I have no idea what 'cock of' means.

    So could someone please help me with the meaning of this little quote?

  1. apex2000's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What does this sentence mean?

    It is a long time since I read that book so I do not remember that passage. However my interpretation is that the meaning is the same as 'butt of'. This means that he is on the receiving end of his own jests; the joke is on him.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What does this sentence mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by lo2 View Post
    Hey there

    I have started reading 'Our Man in Havana' amusing piece of litterature. One the first page there is a quote by George Herbert saying:

    'And the sad man is cock of all his jests.'

    I know what a jest is that is: a joke, a trick, something like that

    But I have no idea what 'cock of' means.

    So could someone please help me with the meaning of this little quote?
    I don't know, but here's a guess: in the sport of curling (curling - Wiktionary) the target can be called "the cock".*

    So George Whoever (I've seen that quote attributed to George Eliot too) may have meant "the target/butt of all his jokes". Of course, we don't know who 'the poor man' is, or who 'his' refers to. Is the 'his' reflexive - I mean does it refer to the subject of the sentence or to someone else in the context of the original quote? Does 'the poor man' refer to a particular poor man, or to the generality of poor men? And what sort of 'poor'? More questions than answers, I'm afraid,

    (Whichever it is, Graham Greene may not have meant it in the same way that the original writer did.)

    b
    *
    This is news to me"! In a recent Olympic commentary, I heard the term 'the house'; but some definitions (e.g. cock - Wiktionary ) give 'cock'


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    #4

    Re: What does this sentence mean?

    George Herbert:
    A sad wise valour is the brave complexion, That leads the van, and swallows up the cities.
    The gigler is a milk-maid, whom infection
    Or a fir'd beacon frighteth from his ditties.
    Then he's the sport: the mirth then in him rests,
    And the sad man is cock of all his jests.

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